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Full text of "The History Of Western Education"


altogether or quite insufficient. " Certain it is that for depth of
speculation no less than for fruit of operation in some sciences
(especially natural philosophy and physic) other helps are required
besides books. ... In general, it may be held for certain that
there will hardly be any great progress in the unravelling and un-
locking of the secrets of nature except there be a full allowance
for expenses about experiments." (3) No thought has been given
to the question " whether the readings, disputations, and other
scholastic exercises anciently begun, and since continued up to
our time, may be profitably kept up, or whether we should rather
abolish them and substitute better.5' As examples, he refers to
the practice of setting students prematurely to the study of logic
and rhetoric while their minds are empty of the materials on
which these arts depend ; and again to the separation of invention
and memory which leads the students either to speak about
things of which they are ignorant, or to use ready-made formulae
unintelligently. (4) In the absence of any organization of the
work done by the universities of Europe, no attempt has been
made to find out " such parts of knowledge as have not been
already sufficiently laboured," and to appoint fit men to write or
make inquiry about them.

In connection with titx^se criticisms of the universities must
be taken Bacon's Utopian sketch of The New Atlantis, written in
1624. <e This fable," writes Dr. Rawlej, his first editor, by way
of preface, " my Lord devised, to the end that he might exhibit
therein a model or description of a college instituted for the in-
terpreting of nature and the production of great and marvellous
works for the benefit of men, under the name of Solomon's House,
or the College of the Six Days' Works."

T?his suggestion of a college of universal learning, as we shall
see7was taKeii up eagerly by Comenius and His English disciples,
but it proved incapable of realization in the form in which it was
originally propounded.   Bacon's philosophy, however, had a far
'\tfider influence on educatiorTtlian any of his concrete proposals.?
. Without going into unnecessary detail, the following points may
be noted as of special consequence from this point of view,   (i)
The object of all knowledge is to give man power over nature,
i^ finding out the causes of those things which affect his life he
can produce the effects he desires with absolute certainty.   (2)
of acquiring this effective knowledge is to put aside